In times of national tragedy or during moments of senseless violence it can be easy to accept divisive rhetoric or the condemnation of one particular group over another. It can be easy to uphold or tepidly respond to forceful opinion, or to retreat further from the challenges of difficult discourse.
As we remember though, the faces and the personal stories; as we ponder, question, and attempt to understand; as we clamor for justice; as we embrace, but also appear unsettled; it is important to not let relationship be overshadowed by limitation; it is important to not let an identity based upon mutual respect and love be overtaken by an acceptance of violence and hate. The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is a reminder of this call and of our commitment toward peace.
|Dancing Francis sculpture at Viterbo University, La Crosse|
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.